“Why Me?”, is the looming question I’m sure they will ask when the camera is on. It sits and loops and rewinds and, “Let’s do that one more time…”, and answers itself in concentric circles in my mind until I have it right. ‘Me, Me, Me.’ It’s all about ‘Me’.
I laugh a little inside as I imagine the scene; dead silence, then maybe someone coughs or the director cuts away and zooms in on a macro image and the extrapolated sound of someone chewing gum or tapping their fingers on an iPad app that won’t run Flash Player. Fade back to a room full of writers clicking on keypads or furiously scribbling letters in Moleskine journals…the ones with lines for type A’s of course. Cut, refocus on the line up outside before a reading…pan past dudes with beards and Birkenstocks and girls in wooly lose knit sweaters and horn rimmed glasses reading a little Margaret Atwood before the doors open…damn, artists and writers are about as exciting as you think they are. ‘Why am I doing this?”
If only the Minister of Arts and Culture (do we still have that one?) Could spend a day climbing Fissile with Chile Thom or an opening day (yes, another one like 2009) skiing pow down Rat Fink with Leslie Anthony or even a day with me?
“Me, Me, Me”, it’s the byline of Lisa Richardson’s upcoming symposium on social media at the Whistler Writers Festival that left me at, “Aside from saying yes, what else do I need to do right now?”, when I needed to cut the conversation short to help a customer at the shop…a few weeks later and a few hours later today, the Shaw Cable TV cameras will roll in to Street To Peak to ask me the question, why?
Why is as good a question as any but I’m not sure people will like my answer. For me, sponsoring an event at a writers festival is seemingly like I said, about as exciting as you think it is. I believe in less government and the responsibility of community so before you begin offering praise to inde sponsors, or pointing fingers at Provincial Ministers and budget cuts, or you start citing former not-for-profit presidents who resigned over the unsaid budget cuts (almost left it alone…but resigning a charitable position to make a point??) , before you make X’s in ballot boxes for Green change and increased tax on corporations (many small businesses like mine are incorporated by the way) or blame the blue ties on Parliament Hill for their lack of support, before all that stuff that sells newspapers and inspires re-tweets on Twitter and Likes on Facebook protest groups, before that, there’s Me.
Me, Me, Me…’I couldn’t say it better myself Lisa’, I think to myself as I imagine the camera panning past the original art and prints of the West Coast artists that inspired and helped define the culture of what a surf industry insider described as, “Whistler’s premier lifestyle retailer”, Street To Peak Street, Surf and Snow. (Ed. Be sure to stop image on custom wooden sign out front first…just saying.)
The lens passes by four decades of West Coast living and my lifetime in the mountains and the search for meaning in the waves, original oil painting by S. Kearns, limited edition Giclee canvases and custom skis and boards by Chile Thom and Olivier Roy, Mark Kowalchuck’s Artschool Skateboards deck hung beside his original mixed media collage, the entire Kelly Slater Series of long boards by Arbor, the final Powder Magazine cover with Shane McKonkey (RIP) after his death and his tribute ski covered with photos and quotes that remind me everyday what this West Coast life is all about.
Stop. Breathe. Listen to the rain, pump in a little Acid Jazz #1 or some Bali waves and Rob Machado sliding a bottle on his guitar strings in Taylor Steele’s ‘The Dirfter’ or ‘Melali’, (Ed. it will look pretty sexy on film I think), and in the moment that so many people take in every day when I see them literally stop and stare and feel that…well, that feeling they won’t find in any other shop anywhere but right here right now (it’s all about Me, right?) Street To Peak is West Coast culture. It is home.
West Coast Culture is right here under your nose people (this is the part I said you might not like) and you won’t find it on another trip to Wal-Mart to buy things you don’t need or another stop at Starbucks for a $4.65 Chai (now $5 something with HST). As I tab through sales ledgers and the payroll due this week trying to work out when to post-date the cheque for the Whistler Writers Festival (sorry about that), after the events of the past year that somehow saw many of our friends’ businesses close and left many like mine a little short, I look around the walls and I share the struggle of local artists and writers to have a voice in a branded world.
“Me, Me, Me…” Sometimes I want to shout it! Here I am! Right Here…still…and artists and writers in true West Coast style are doing it with the same reserved recklessness that finds us flashing tree lines between storms of creativity (only Canadians can be reckless and reserved at the same time). Are you listening? Are you watching the community spot on Shaw TV? (Thank you for that by the way.) Did you go to Chile’s ‘Tree’ show? to the annual TWSSF State of the Art show? The pro-photo Showdown? The Whistler Live Concert Series? Yes? No? Maybe you did, but better yet, did you buy a card or a print or the new Arrested Development ‘Strong’ album – rather than downloading it? Are you going to buy Leslie Anthony’s new book? (I am.) Or the Chili Thom T-shirt inspired by the original ‘Kelp’ painting on a surfboard? You see, it’s all about ‘Me’. Say it. Yes, I’m just going to say it, ‘Me’ is you.
Me, Me, Me. It’s all about Me. Go ahead, say it! Say it, show it, mail it, wear it, hang it on your wall or drop that 7 lb, $140 signed Limited Edition photo book , ‘The shorebreak art of Clark Little”, on your coffee table. That $5.00 Starbucks will get you a Chile Thom card on photo quality paper if you can’t afford a Giclee hand touched print on Canvas (starting at @$500), $20 will buy you 13 of the Clark Little photos in his 2010/2011 calendar, and for less than that you can get Leslie to sign your copy of his book, White Planet. A Mad Dash through Modern Global Ski Culture, when you see him at the festival (your chance to meet the faces and hear the voices behind the words). Me…and you…keep the Whistler culture alive.
Me, Me, Me…that’s why.
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